Perry M. Larson, age 91, of River Falls, WI, former River Falls Chief of Police, member of the River Falls Masonic Lodge #109 and the Zor St. Croix Valley Shrine Club, passed away on September 29, 2014 at the Lutheran Home, surrounded by his family.
Perry was born August 9, 1923 on the family farm in Beldenville, near Morton Corner, the son of Albin and Clara (Jenson) Larson. Perry attended Morton Corner School, where he was able to compete in sports, mostly baseball, which gave him his competitive spirit. He was fortunate to be able to attend high school, with his mother’s encouragement, instead of staying back to work on the family farm as many others in his eighth grade class did. While in high school, Perry was able to be a part of the Smith-Hughes Vocational Agriculture course, a four year program that offered an agriculture major. He was elected President of the FFA his first year, and went on to receive the first state FFA degree of the Ellsworth Chapter his Senior year. He graduated from Ellsworth High School, the Class of 1941.
After high school, Perry took over his family farm. While visiting his Uncle Ted in Yakima, Washington, Perry applied for a security position at the Hanford Plutonium Plant, where the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan was made. He accepted a position and went to work for the Hanford Plutonium Plant on December 29, 1949. It was there where he gained intensive security and firearms training, which inspired him later to take interest in law enforcement. He returned to Wisconsin to farm, and was united in marriage to Joyce Crownhart in 1956, who later preceded him in death. Perry took a position as a staff officer on the River Falls Police Department, and in 1967 was offered the Chief of Police position, prompting him to sell the family farm. Perry served as chairman of several police organizations and was appointed by Governor Lucey to serve on the West Central Criminal Planning Council. After 33 years of faithful service to the River Falls Police Department, he retired in 1987 at the age of 64. He was united in marriage to Lucille F. Erickson on August 3, 1996. Together they enjoyed golf, bridge and their travels wintering in Sun City Arizona.
Along with his duties in law enforcement, Perry served as a Charities Commissioner for 4 years with the St. Croix Valley Shrine Club, was a 15 year Ambassador with the Zor Temple, and served on the River Falls Golf Club Board for 5 years. He took pleasure in playing bridge, was a fantastic dancer, and appreciated a good round of golf. Perry attributed much of his success in his career and his life to his father, his education, his Christian faith, and his luck. He worked and lived by his motto: Be fair, firm and friendly.
Perry was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce (Crownhart); step-daughter, Sandra Crownhart; sisters, Helen Christopherson, Marcella Christopherson, Carol Blakeborough; and his parents.
Perry will remain in the hearts of his loving wife, Lucille “Lucy” Erickson Larson; Lucy’s daughters, Karen (Philip) McConville of Hudson, Julie (Dennis) Myhre of Menomonie, Elaine (Gregory) Dean of Gulfport, Mississippi and their extended families; sister, Shirley Snyder-McKercher; and 12 nieces and nephews.
Funeral services honoring Perry’s life will take place 11:00 AM Friday, October 3, 2014 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 110 North Third St., River Falls, with Reverend Chris Myers officiating. A Visitation will take place from 4:00 – 7:00 PM, with a 7 PM Masonic Service, Thursday, October 2, 2014 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in River Falls, and one hour prior to the service on Friday. Interment will take place at Greenwood Cemetery in River Falls. Memorials are preferred to the Twin Cities Shriner’s Hospital and the First Congregational United Church of Christ.